VICTORIA (U SPORTS) – The No. 6-seeded Cape Breton Capers gave the No. 3 Queen's Gaels a scare to open up the ArcelorMittal Dofasco U SPORTS Women's Basketball Final 8 on Wednesday afternoon but the Gaels prevailed, pulling ahead in the fourth quarter on their way to a 60-51 quarter-final victory at the CARSA Performance Gym.
CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: http://en.usports.ca/championships/wbkb/index
"I thought our first half was an issue, certainly with our shooting and for us to get relaxed playing here because it's a hyped up environment so it does take a little bit of time to relax," said Queen's head coach Dave Wilson.
"But we certainly don't want to go into games giving up that much of a lead at the start—not often are we going to be able to come back like that."
Marianne Alarie led the Gaels with 14 points, adding three rebounds and an assist, while teammate Andrea Priamo chimed in with 10 points and six rebounds. Robyn Pearson and Abby Dixon each had 10 rebounds for Queen's.
Alarie was named the Player of the Game for the Gaels. She's coming off a regular season that saw her lead the team in scoring with 10.7 points per game on 41 per cent shooting from the field and 26.9 per cent shooting from beyond three.
Cape Breton was led by Colleen Keane with 15 points, 12 of which came in the first half alone. Alison Keough added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds while Valentina Primossi had five rebounds and five points.
"We followed the game plan pretty well—we took some things away from them," said Capers head coach Fabian McKenzie. "They adjusted later on but I think in the first half we were pretty good."
For her efforts, Keane was named the Player of the Game. The award, and the performance that earned it, didn't surprise her coach.
"She's pretty solid for us," said McKenzie. "She is our leader—wherever she goes we go. She's the heart and soul of our group."
The Capers jumped out to an 11-point lead after the first quarter only to see the Gaels chip away at the deficit. Queen's knocked down 15 points in the second quarter and 17 in the third to send the game to fourth quarter with the Capers leading by just four.
"I think our team came out pretty strong in the beginning and then towards the end we lost our steam," said Keane. "It's our first time here so it's just a learning experience overall."
It was in the fourth quarter that the Gaels rounded into form, feeding off the energy of their large travelling cheer squad to outscore Cape Breton 22-9. The Gaels hit 50 per cent of their shots from the field in the quarter, going nine-for-18.
"There were a couple things that we wanted to do on defence to disrupt their offence a little bit and that seemed to give us a little spark but the main thing we talked about was to relax and play our game," said Wilson.
For their part, the Capers hit 41.3 per cent of their shots from the field and 20 per cent from three-point range. But they came up short when they needed it most, hitting just 27 per cent of their shots in the fourth—a low for the game.
The Gaels will play again on Saturday, when they'll meet the winner of Wednesday's second quarter-final between Saskatchewan and Laval. Cape Breton will meet the loser of that game for a 6:00 p.m. PST match-up on Friday night.
Official Boxscore: http://en.usports.ca/championships/wbkb/2017/championship
CBU 17-13-12-9: 51
QUE 6-15-17-22: 60
Player of the game: #7 Colleen Keane
Points: Marianne Alarie (14), Andrea Priamo (10), Robyn Pearson (9)
Rebounds: Robyn Pearson (10), Abby Dixon (10), Andrea Primo (6)
Assists: Abby Dixon (5), Emily Hazlett (4)
Player of the game: #10 Marianne Alarie
SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times PT)
Wednesday, March 8
6:30 p.m. 2017 U SPORTS Women's Basketball All-Canadian Awards
Thursday, March 9
12:00 p.m. Quarter-final 1: No.3 Queen's (60) vs. No. 6 Cape Breton (51) (USPORTS.LIVE)
2:00 p.m. Quarter-final 2: No. 2 Saskatchewan vs. No. 7 Laval (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:00 p.m. Quarter-final 3: No. 4 McGill vs. No. 5 Regina (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Quarter-final 4: No. 1 Carleton vs. No. 8 Victoria (USPORTS.LIVE)
Friday, March 10
6:00 p.m. Consolation 1: Cape Breton vs. Loser QF 2 (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (USPORTS.LIVE)
Saturday, March 11
2:00 p.m. Semifinal 1: Queen's vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet 360/SN Now)
4:00 p.m. Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet 360/SN Now)
7:00 p.m. 5th-place game (USPORTS.LIVE)
Sunday, March 12
10:00 a.m. Bronze (USPORTS.LIVE)
1:00 p.m. Final (Sportsnet 360/SN Now)
Source: U SPORTS Communications